Money makes us happy, so we exist

Press columnist Martin van Beynen.
Press columnist Martin van Beynen.

From a place called satire. Hi, I'm John Whyte and I am the new leader of the ACT party. I used to be a philosophy lecturer.

So I ask. Does ACT exist? Do I exist? I think so. I think about lots of things, including whether I should be talking about this but a life unexplored is a life, well, unexplored.

But I think and therefore I am - a member of the ACT party, in fact the leader. The ACT party seems to exist. It has at least three members. Me, Richard and Alan, and, oh, of course Earl, who I hope is still with us.

It has money, it has a logo and it has policies like no law should be passed unless it promotes the greatest happiness for the greatest number of rich people.

We argue very strongly that the purpose of government is to create the perfect environment for rich people to get richer and if they are not getting richer, they should be allowed to maintain the wealth they have. And people should be allowed to do anything they like as long as it does not cost rich people.

You might say there is a contradiction between happiness and money and therefore the role of government is to ensure everyone has enough and no more. This is what philosophers call sophistry. In other words, an argument that sounds quite sensible but means rich people will not be allowed to keep all their money.

If allowed to flourish and put into practice, this delusion would see life could return to a short, brutish and lonely existence where everyone is required to get on with much the same amount of money.

Let us look at the empirical basis for the contention that wealth does not make you happy. Show me a rich person who is unhappy. OK but they have lost their minds. If money did not make you happy, do you think the ACT party would exist? It exists because rich people want everyone to be rich as long as rich people don't have to pay for it.

I need to say something about the misconception of ACT as a nasty, heartless and selfish political movement. These, you will note, are all adjectives based on moral judgments. We don't care if you are a rationalist or an empiricist or in a consensual incestuous relationship. We don't believe in moral judgments, especially about rich people, because most of those are based on envy. In fact, all moral judgments are necessarily subjective and lacking in reason. We don't believe in moral judgments at all. We in ACT make value judgments, like how much are you worth. This is objective and much more accurate in judging how worthwhile a person you are.

You might say ACT is cold- hearted because it does not want to contribute to your child's heart operation. ACT believes you should pay this yourself because then the market will show you the true cost of children and that poor people shouldn't really have any. The market does more than decide. It tells you what to do as though it has a built-in valuemeter.

We believe everyone must look to the market to establish their own net worth and give meaning to their lives. If you are weak and worthless, the market will show that you have no value by not giving you a job or money and you will have to beg. Then rich people will give you money if they want to make themselves feel virtuous. Yes, old habits die hard. And through that you will be useful and your life will have a purpose.

The great philosophers have all tried to answer the questions of is there a God? We in ACT are not against religion, because we are believers too. We believe in the divine purpose of the market. But we do believe all religions should all compete for members and through that they demonstrate the ultimate force that controls all human activity. The market.

There is only one circumstance that justifies the Government intervening in the market. This is when the market is unkind to rich people. Then the Government must step in to prop up the happiness of rich people using the money of poor people if necessary.

The big question for ACT is not about how the economy should be arranged. The bigger question is how to live a good life. ACT people know how to live a good life - gourmet foods and travel are a good start - and just want to be left alone to live their good lives without threats of graduated tax or gift duties or capital gains tax.

We urge you to vote for us so one day you too can have a good life. That is, when you deserve it. But don't expect any help from us.

The Press